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Typhoon “Haikui” – Record-breaking rains hit Fuzhou, causing massive flash flooding, China

tropical cyclone haikui 0120z september 5 2023

After sweeping over Taiwan, Typhoon “Haikui” hit China’s southeastern province of Fujian early September 5, 2023, dropping record-breaking rains. Haikui caused severe flash flooding and traffic chaos, damaged power and communication lines, and forced more than 30 000 people to evacuate. At least one person died.

Haikui formed on August 28 and rapidly strengthened into a severe tropical storm as it entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. It remained a tropical storm while moving westward across the Philippine Sea for about a day and reached typhoon intensity on September 1. The storm continued intensifying and by September 2 it was a Category 2-equivalent typhoon. A rapid intensification phase followed and Haikui was a Category 3-equivalent typhoon about 18 hours before landfall in Taiwan.

Haikui hit Taiwan’s Taitung County as a Category 3-equivalent typhoon on September 3, becoming the first tropical cyclone to hit mainland Taiwan after Severe Tropical Storm “Bailu” in 2019 and the first Category 3+ typhoon to hit the island since Typhoon “Megi” in 2016. It then moved eastwards and made a second landfall in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Before it exited into the Taiwan Strait, Haikui left more than 160 000 homes without power and injured more than 40 people.

On September 5, Haikui reached southeastern China and made landfall along the coast of Dongshan County, Fujian as a tropical storm.

In the city of Fuzhou, the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian province, the rainfall reached 23.5 mm (0.9 inches) in 5 minutes, 174.7 mm (6.9 inches) in 1 hour, and 556 mm (21.9 inches) in just 6 hours — record-breaking for the province.

The amount surpassed the volume brought by Typhoon “Doksuri” in late July, which ripped through Fujian, causing floods and losses of $2 billion, state media said.

The resulting flash floods closed subway lines, suspended train services, and shut down schools for the second day in a row.

Authorities confirmed the death of a firefighter whose fire truck was swept away while responding to a call in Yongtai County.

Tropical Cyclone "Haikui" at 01:20 UTC on September 5, 2023
Tropical Cyclone “Haikui” at 01:20 UTC on September 5, 2023. Credit: JMA/Himawari-9, Zoom Earth, The Watchers
YouTube video

China News Service reported that following severe rainfall and strong winds which led to flooding and road damage in the county, authorities have halted all passenger transport, including buses and taxis. Numerous flights were also canceled.

More than 36 000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, state media reported, adding that floods damaged power and communication lines as well as 4 195 ha (10 366 acres) of farmland.

Floods have affected numerous cities in Fujian, highlighting the vulnerabilities of urban drainage and other infrastructure, as reported by state-backed The Paper, citing provincial official Chen Yunong.

Putian and Quanzhou are among six cities in Fujian identified as vulnerable to flash floods and landslides. Provincial authorities have instructed local administrations to prepare for evacuations in areas anticipated to be most impacted.

Rain is forecasted to persist until Friday, September 8 in the central and southern regions of the province.

In less than a week, the coastal province has been struck by two typhoons. Super Typhoon “Saola” last week affected nearly half a million residents and led to tens of thousands being evacuated.

References:

1 Floods from waning Typhoon Haikui hit transport, force evacuations in China – Reuters – September 6, 2023

2 Typhoon Haikui pounds China’s Fujian province, triggering flooding and shutting down transport – SCMP – September 5, 2023

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone “Haikui” at 01:20 UTC on September 5, 2023. Credit: JMA/Himawari-9, Zoom Earth, The Watchers

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